Archives For Brent Pittman

Guarding this pot of gold is tough during the "New Normal" economy.

Guarding this pot of gold is tough during the “New Normal” economy.

This economy is tough, even on Leprechauns. Think it’s all about playing tricks, rainbows, and pots of gold?

Think again.

Even though that pot of gold is worth more than it was a few years ago, Leprechauns face a harsh economic landscape that is causing many Leprechauns to adapt to new changes.

Maybe Leprechauns aren’t so lucky after all.

7 Harsh Economic Changes for Leprechauns

1. Their hole in a tree is no longer considered a “residence” by the IRS. Leprechauns are no longer allowed to deduct hole mortgages from their taxes.

2. The Pot O’ Gold Corp instituted new changes in their work at home policy. Now all Leprechauns will have to redirect their rainbows and bring their pots of gold to the corporate office.

3. The “End of the Rainbow” is now considered to be an Off shore account (OFC). Leprechauns have 30 days to notify the IRS of any pots of gold that may be held at the “End of the Rainbow”.

4. Leprechauns are looking for alternative non-sugary foods (besides Lucky Charms) since Mayor Bloomberg has sugary cereals on his next list of foods to ban in NYC.

5. As shoemakers made trade, Leprechauns are having a tough job finding local jobs since all shoes are made in China.

6. Leprechauns are having a tough time getting job interviews since recruiters think they are hipsters. Think about– Green jeans, fedoras, beards, and funky shoes.

7. The Social Security retirement age of Leprechauns has been raised from 1,200 years to 1,300 years as part of Ireland’s Austerity Plan.

More St. Patrick’s Day Resources

Create Your Own Luck of the Irish- Solid financial advice inspired by St. Patrick’s Day.

5 Low Cost St. Patrick’s Day Activities for Kids   Good ideas by Living on the Cheap.

17 Ways to Serve Potatoes on St. Patrick’s Day- Save money with these cheap recipe ideas you’ve never heard of by WiseBread.

How to Make Green Beer- A DIY guide to green beer making.

Official National Leprechaun Museum- Yes, it really does exists.

Have a fun and safe St. Patrick’s Day! 

Lego Birthday Cake

Credit Danacea

As this week marks my 35th birthday week–yes, we have birthday weeks in our family, don’t you?

This last year of my life has been super busy with us moving several times and continuing to help others with their personal finances through writing and coaching.

I’ve also dabbled with SEO writing, entertained the thought of becoming an financial advisor [Why I Don't Want to Become a Financial Advisor], and a bit of freelance writing.

Our net-worth shrank, but my happiness increased as I learned and pursued a career path that was much more fulfilling.

Financial Thoughts and Personal Reflections at Age 35

My thoughts on personal finance and money are mostly unchanged from last years reflections at age 34, below are a few recent thoughts.

  • I still dislike debt and I still don’t believe in “good debt”.
  • I calculate risk more heavily since coaching more couples though financial crisis. If you see enough “what if” scenarios, you’ll try to avoid them.
  • I believe more firmly that having an emergency fund is important for peace of mind and a building block for financial security.
  • You can’t make everyone happy–especially other personal finance writers.
  • After one of my beloved banks  [R.I.P. ING Direct] was sold to a company that makes me want to vomit, my trust in banks is weakened even further–could that even happen?
  • My confidence in “Buy and Hold” investing is strengthened after recent record highs on Wall Street.
  • A change in career paths is worth a temporary pause in achieving financial goals.
  • Life is too short to work a job you hate. Tweet this
  • And of course.. Money is cent everything (the original name of this blog)

Thanks for reading and joining me for year 35! Any suggestions, blog ideas, or guest post submissions email: info (at) ontargetcoach (dot) com

Science Experiment

I put Dollar cost averaging to the test with $500 on the line. Credit paladinsf.

I believe as a financial coach and financial writer I should eat my own pudding.

Following my article What is Dollar Cost Averaging: Drip Your Way to Millions, I decided to follow my own advice and devise a dollor cost averaging (DCA) experiment.

Remember the reason we dollar cost average is to spread out our investments since we don’t know what the market will do in the future.

*If you’re in the UK it’s called pound cost averaging. Fun fact eh?

The DCA Experiment Plan

I decided to invest $500 in a S&P 500 Index Fund for 5 consecutive weeks. I could have staggered it out for 5 months (1x per month), but I don’t like my money sitting on the sidelines for too long.

I invested $100 per week starting in February.

The Dollar Cost Averaging Experiment Results

The below is a summary of the 5 transactions.

S&P 500 screenshot

 

  • The average purchase share price was $139.36
  • The market did very well during this time period (near market highs).
  • If I had invested all $500 on 2.7.13 at a share price of $137.95, I would have been able to purchase 3.624 shares vs the 3.587 shares actually purchased–a difference of .037 shares.

Final Thoughts on my Dollar Cost Average Experiment

So in the end, my Dollar cost averaging experiment showed that a lump sum would have fared better in the end than DCA.

We don’t know the future and what the market will do from day to day.

My experiment could have easily gone in favor of Dollar cost averaging (Pound cost averaging), should the Sequester tanked the market, a bad jobs report, or Apple released another Apple Maps like debacle.

Does that prove that DCA is a bad idea? Will I abandon DCA in the future?

NO WAY! I will continue to engage in dollar cost averaging to smooth out my investments in the market. I’ll take a loss of .037 shares from time to time to hedge against the highs and lows of the stock market.

What are your thoughts about my Dollar cost averaging experiment? Do you have any conclusions I missed? 

Huggies Bundle

Take advantage of Huggies Enjoy the Ride Rewards Codes. Credit foshydog.

We’ve been diapering our child for a couple of years and I’ve occasionally purchased diapers from Huggies, though hopefully he’ll be potty trained soon.

Inside is a yellow tag with a Rewards Code, yet I’ve always ignored it since I was only interested in a finding a clean diaper.

Finally, I did a little research and signed up to become a Huggies Rewards member and started diving into the rabbit hole of Huggies reward code hacking.

How to Sign up for Huggies Rewards Points

Sign up is easy. Ask a friend for an invitation so they can earn extra points and show you their tricks.

In case your plea for help on Facebook was ignored, you can always sign up at Huggies.com

You’ll need a valid email address and have to enter in basic information. Read their Terms if you have more details about their program.

Opt of of newsletters if you don’t desire to be spammed too much (You can change this option later in your profile should you forget).

How to Earn Huggies Codes

By signing up you’ll receive 10 points to get started.

Other ways to earn Huggies points:

1. The easiest way is to enter reward codes from your Huggies products on Huggies.com

Enter from Huggies.com

Enter from Huggies.com

2. Refer friends- You’ll have to send them an invitation via email, but you can earn extra points quick if you’re not afraid to “Mary Kay” your email list. See details.

3. Review products at Huggies.com- Thought those reviews were bought? Yep they were, but you can cash in points by reviewing products too.

4. Earn Offer Codes- Offer codes may be found in various ways on baby products or on the web. You’ll have to keep a sharp eye out to earn these bonus codes.

5. Read and comment on articles- I haven’t been able to get this function to work yet, but the site claims I can earn points by reading articles and commenting.

Earn Huggies Points Tips

Know of other ways to earn points? Let us know in the comments!

How to Spend Huggies Reward Points

This is the fun part and where they hope to hook you into becoming a lifetime Huggies customer.

1. Sweepstakes- By spending a few points, you’ll be able to enter into sweepstakes for trips, products, and prizes. 

A sample of play to win contests.

A sample of play to win contests.

2. Rewards Catalog

A variety of kid toys, magazines for parents, and other products are available.

You’ll have to buy a lot of Huggies and store away the points in order to redeem these products.

Sample products and point totals.

Sample products and point totals.

3. Donate - This seems like a cool program called Every Little Bottom (Yes, seriously)

If you donate 2 points, Huggies will donate 1 diaper to Feeding America. 16 points is suggested to diaper 1 child for an entire day.

Final Thoughts on Huggies Enjoy the Ride Reward Program

Consciously I realize that rewards programs goals is to lock me into their brand, so I  am by no means 100% loyal to Huggies or will begin using only Huggies brand diapers.

Subconsciously, though I’m sure it may play into my decision making process as my gaming mentality desires to accrue more points to redeem free products and enter sweepstakes.

It seems a huge investment of time and energy, yet could pay off with free instant wins and an occasional prize from the catalogue.

At the very least you’ll be able to donate your points to help others diaper their little ones.

Do you participate in the Huggies reward program? What tips do you have for earning points? 

Each year we drop off items to Goodwill, The Salvation Army, or another charitable organization.

When they ask if you want a receipt? Sure, I’ll take it and count it off on my taxes! But, do you and do you do it correctly?

How to Get a Tax Deduction From Your Donation

I’m always learning something new about taxes. This year I learned from our tax guru, John Kristianson, about how to properly get your deduction from donations.

1) In order to quality, you’ll need to meet the minimum amount in order itemize your taxes.

2) Make sure you take a picture of the items you give. Seriously, I heard about a guy who was being audited and they were questioning if he really gave. He had pictures, so that ended the discussion with the IRS.

3) Get a receipt and number count for the items.

Example of receipt from Goodwill

4) Calculate how much the items are worth. What? Yep, and there are valuation guidelines. Here is the Donation Valuation Guide for Goodwill and The Salvation Army Valuation Guide.

5) Add them up and turn it into your tax professional or perhaps you do it yourself on Turbo Tax?

Giving to organizations like Goodwill and The Salvation Army most importantly help your immediate community and provide jobs for those re-entering the workforce.

The Goodwill of Southern California received 4 Stars from Charity Navigator! Less than 1% of non-profits receive this high of rating and 92% of their profits and contributions directly towards people and services.

Need to find a store? Goodwill Location Finder

What is the most unique item you’ve given or purchased at a Goodwill type store? 

Photo Credit: Retailmania